People need new skills. People are ready to learn. If you do not continue training, your business may fall behind and lose your competitive advantage.
At first, it may sound counter-intuitive. Businesses around the world are struggling to survive the pandemic. Cost-cutting exercises and rationalization efforts are underway at many places. How can you then think of investing in training? Is it not the wrong time? Is it not a waste of money?
No. If you consider the actual implications of this pandemic, you will see something contrary.
Many businesses are now working remotely. And while some processes are slowing down or coming to a complete halt, some are working in overdrive. In all these scenarios, it makes more sense to train now, at the first available instance.
Because of three simple reasons:
The Forgetting Curve
Before the pandemic, training experiences were designed to encompass a mix of fact-to-face as well as virtual training to meet business needs. The context of doing business has changed dramatically. People don’t retain the skills they do not practice or apply. The forgetting-risk can get compounded with every lost opportunity to retrain and remind people of what they learned. Should you waste the efforts and time that your team and trainees have already invested? No. You should make the most of it. Preserve it. Revive it. Keep it in action.
Organizations need to remember that they are facing a new imperative if they have to survive and stay relevant in the post-lockdown world. They need to impart a new set of skills that the ‘new normal’ needs. Now is the best time as more organizations are opening their doors and getting back to business as best they can. While you are waiting for business activities to open up and gather momentum, it is the right time to continue training to be ready for what is needed once that happens.
Recall that 83% of employees want to work remotely after the lockdown ends. This was 37% before the crisis. Over 50% recommend that companies improve tech tools and policies to enable ‘virtual working’ at scale. About 33% of those in client-facing roles showed an improvement in client satisfaction. 6% reported a jump in efficiency through virtual working. (McKinsey Global Institute-LaborCube Analysis.)
So why not train these remote employees now?
There are New Gaps to Fill
The McKinsey report also shows that some sectors are showing a surge in demand. There is an emerging need for new skills as physical models move online. You have to re-skill them for new industry realities.
All this may sound overwhelming, but there is no need to panic. Training may have been the first thing you put on the back-burner as you got busy handling business operations in a crisis. But employee development is not a luxury. Especially not at a time like this where everything is changing. What they knew so far may have become obsolete or irrelevant.
You should help employees find a balance between speed and security. Show them how to deliver seamless customer experiences without putting the company’s data or reputation at stake.
The good news is that you have time and attention without interruptions and distractions of a busy day lost in meetings and traffic. Plus, you have all the advanced virtual training tools that can enable hands-on training. They are sophisticated and versatile enough to meet your unique needs, delivery modes, and geography.
So do not let training stay on the backburner. Give it the priority it deserves.
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